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FIFA scandal hurts chances for another Caribbean Concacaf president – Hislop

Published:Saturday | December 10, 2022 | 12:06 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Shaka Hislop.
Shaka Hislop.

The aftermath of the FIFA corruption scandal, as well as the part that Caribbean administrators played in it could spell doom for any other aspiring person from the region vying for the Concacaf presidency in the future according to ESPN football analyst and former Trinidad and Tobago international Shaka Hislop.

Hislop was speaking at Thursday’s Caribbean Conference on Corruption, Compliance and Cybercrime webinar hosted by the Caribbean Development Bank which addressed the topic. ‘Corruption and Sport: Lessons and Solutions for the Caribbean’.

The scandal which saw 14 people indicted in May 2015 as part of a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) probe into wire fraud, racketeering and money-laundering crimes, involved two past presidents of regional football Jeffrey Webb and Jack Warner, both hailing from the Caribbean.

The charges included paying $US150 million in bribes and kickbacks in exchange for media deals associated with major tournaments which led to the ousting of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Webb who hails from The Cayman Islands pleaded guilty to such charges in November 2015 and has been banned by the FIFA ethics committee. Warner recently lost his extradition appeal in his native Trinidad and Tobago, clearing the way for the US to resume extradition proceedings for him to stand trial.

Concacaf has had three presidents from the Caribbean in its history, the last being Webb between 2012 and 2015. Hislop says that because of the actions of Webb and the allegations against Warner, It will be difficult for another Caribbean candidate to take the role

“You have two presidents, both black men from the Caribbean, both swept up in that scandal and as a result and I think regionally in terms of Concacaf there was a lack of trust,” Hislop said. “I don’t anticipate despite the political strength of the Caribbean nations within Concacaf, I don’t think we will see another Concacaf president from the Caribbean for quite sometime. So we are living that legacy.”

What has made it painful in Hislop’s view is that he is not confident of the region’s ability to collectively lobby, something that he feels is self-inflicted.

“We are still hoping that people take notice of the Caribbean. We are not in a position to advocate for ourselves and for me that is a desperate position for us to be in. But that is a position that we have found ourselves in because of the legacy of those two people,” Hislop said.

Two of the other Caribbean nationals involved in the scandal included Jack’s sons, Daryan and Daryll, who both pleaded guilty to corruption charges last July and face up to 10 years in prison. With the fallout still being felt, Hislop hopes that from the ashes of the scandal, it will bring necessary change to the world football administration

“Long term, I hope that what has happened forces change not just in Caribbean or Concacaf football, but forces change in world football in recognising how easily the system can be perverted or has been perverted,” Hislop said. “And how you need those checks and balances to better serve the global game, in particular, growing the game in some of the smaller corners of world football.”